Two new national health care surveys out today illustrate the challenges facing proponents and opponents of reform. Key fact: a bare majority of Americans support Barack Obama's health care plan, without having to have that plan defined for them, according to CNN. That's stable compared to a month ago.  The public is split -- 40-40- on whether its better to have government or insurance companies make decisions regarding their health care, which is a clear enough indication of why the left is eager to demonize the insurers and why the right is eager to demonize government. Of course, the reality today is that both government and insurers already intervene.  Here's a datum that shows why the White House is pushing hard on the consumer protection theme. Asked which of the following statements respondents agreed with...

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Quinnipiac's latest poll is, again, mixed. Americans have complicated views on such a complicated subject. Q-pac asked a lot of questions about the deficit, and came up with the view that Americans would reject health care reform if it added significantly to the national debt. My question is whether Americans would reject everything if primed with the possibility that it would add to the debt, especially at this time. Quinnipiac's questioning also elicited a positive response to the question of whether health care reform would improve the quality of care they receive from just 21% of respondents.  Nevertheless, the public still supports key elements of what Congress is proposing, including a "government insurance plan" option, higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for health care, subsidies for the poor and a pay or play mandate for businesses.   Independents voters tend to be most worried about the deficit, and they're not confident that health reform would pass without adding significantly to it.

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